Mix tapes

Was reading about the lost art of cassette tape spines at Dangerous Minds. Silly little bit of nostalgia, maybe, but it brought back some memories.

cassette spine art

I have so many of these. Found a mess of wonderful compilation tapes I made back in the 80’s (before they were even called mix tapes) and I don’t even know what all the music is, even though I made them. I remember watching High Fidelity and knowing how infinitely cooler, crazier and non-bogus my compilation tapes were than their weak record geek little things. And I didn’t need no fucking theme either. Then again, mine weren’t plot devices. And it was a good movie. But I’d never invite any of those losers to a party at my place. Jack Black maybe, if he promised to be an asshole. None of the sensitive little fucks, though. The world is full of sensitive little fucks, and they all irritate me. Anyway, some of the tapes I found have stoned spine art like those in the picture (not that I could stand the music on these, of course). I can’t really get into the mindset of the stoner cassette (or K7, to use 80’s hipster speak) spine artist, though, even though I was one. Like what was I thinking? Did we really have that much spare time back then? What a lazily analog world that was. We would read books. Whole books. Imagine that. And we hung out and talked with people we actually knew, and could even reach out and touch, especially if we were drunk and they were female and probably played bass in a band.

And then the non-DIY variety cassettes used to be something you could pick up for a quarter (as in two bits, not weed) at your local used record store. They’d be tucked away in some hard to find nook, the shame of the store (8-Tracks you couldn’t find at all, and reel to reels were under glass, with gramophone cylinders and music rolls and quad LPs). Suddenly cassettes are collectible. Why they are collectible I have no idea. But they are. I asked my brother why. He said because they’re analog. I said but they suck. He said yeah, but they’re analog. I said but it’s such a lame technology. He said but they’re analog. I changed the subject. But it’s a shame. Picking up some obscure jazz release on cassette for twenty five cents was a small thrill. But I will not pay three dollars for a John Coltrane cassette, I’m sorry. That is just stupid. Fifty cents I’m OK with though. But anything more than that seems fundamentally wrong. So I stopped seeking out the corner where they hid the cassettes away. But I have too many cassettes already. And having any cassettes at all is having too many cassettes. Not that I’m getting rid of them.

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